Saturday, March 15, 2008

Amazing Medical Miracle!!!

Democrats in House of Representatives Miraculously Grow A Spine.......

House Passes Spy Bill, Rejects Telcom Amnesty Despite Veto Threat

Democrats continued their defiance of President Bush on Friday over his secret wiretapping program, passing a spying bill that calls for a commission to investigate the program, and refusing to give amnesty to telecoms that collaborated with the warrantless surveillance.
House Democratic leaders secured passage of the spying bill known as the FISA Amendments Act by a vote of 213 to 197, four weeks after a similar measure was defeated by a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats. That defeat led to the expiration of a temporary spying measure, setting off a week-long Republican effort to scare the American people with phantoms of lost wiretaps.
Republicans were championing a Senate bill that includes amnesty for telecoms and gives the nation's spies wide powers to wiretap using facilities inside the United States with little court oversight.
Instead of caving to that rhetoric, the House Democrats doubled down on their original legislation, by including a call for a commission, armed with subpoena power, that would investigate the secret spying. The bill also allows telecoms to defend themselves in court by showing secret documents to federal judge. The Bush administration had blocked them from using classified information in their own defense.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which brought the leading suit against the nation's telecoms, applauded the House's moxie.
"Amnesty proponents have been claiming on the Hill for months that phone companies like AT&T had a good faith belief that the NSA program was legal," EFF senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston said. "Under this bill, the companies could do what they should have been able to do all along: tell that story to a judge."
The White House had no such kind words, saying the bill was "partisan" and would be "dead on arrival" in the Senate.
Threat Level would like to point out that Bond clearly hasn't seen our threat meter, which is now green. Also the official threat level is yellow, or "elevated."
President Bush has repeatedly claimed that there's an urgent national security need for new spying legislation. But he also says he'll veto any surveillance bill that does not grant retroactive immunity to the companies that turned over phone records and access to internet cable fibers to the government.
Bush argues that the participating companies were patriots, and that they would stop complying with lawful court orders in the future if not freed from the lawsuits accusing them of conducting illegal surveillance for Bush.
But it will likely be politically difficult to veto a bill containing new spying powers Bush himself says are vital to American's security, simply because a couple of deep-pocketed corporations are facing lawsuits for violating federal privacy laws.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Welcome to the Recession

The forecasts seem to be getting worse....

The United States has entered a recession that could be "substantially more severe" than recent ones, former National Bureau of Economic Research President Martin Feldstein said
"The situation is very bad, the situation is getting worse, and the risks are that it could get very bad," Feldstein said in a speech at the Futures Industry Association meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.
NBER is a private sector group that is considered the arbiter of U.S. business cycles.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

8 U.S. troops, 14 Iraqis die in wave of insurgent bombings

So do we need more surge or less surge??? That is the question!

BAGHDAD — Bombers unleashed a wave of explosions in Baghdad and north of the capital Monday, including two attacks that killed eight U.S. service members in the deadliest day for the military this year, American and Iraqi authorities said.
The other blasts targeted Iraqi security forces, militias and civilians, hitting a police station, a hotel, a busy traffic intersection and near a mosque and a hospital.
The combined death toll of at least 22 included 14 Iraqi casualties, on the heels of twin bombings that killed nearly 70 people last Thursday in a Baghdad shopping district, indicated that Sunni Muslim insurgents are reasserting their presence at a time when large-scale attacks had dipped to record lows, Iraqi officials said.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm Not Much Of A Jerry Brown Fan,, But.....

At least he did the right thing here. It is just a shame that it had to get to such a drastic step before the right thing was ultimately done.

Instructor fired over loyalty oath reinstated

HAYWARD, Calif. -- A Quaker math instructor who was fired by Cal State East Bay after she refused on religious grounds to sign a state loyalty oath has been reinstated, university officials said Friday.Marianne Kearney-Brown, a pacifist, was concerned that signing the oath to "support and defend" the California and U.S. constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic" could commit her to take up arms. She was fired Feb. 28 after she inserted the word "nonviolently" before "support and defend" and signed that version.

The university, averting a showdown over religious freedom, agreed to rehire Kearney-Brown after the office of state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown helped draft a statement declaring that the oath does not commit employees to bear arms in the country's defense.Kearney-Brown, 50, said she was relieved that the issue was resolved and excited to return next week to teaching her class in remedial math. "I just want to teach kids who hate math," she said. "That's all I want to do."The idea that someone could be fired for refusing to sign a loyalty oath came as a surprise to many Californians who were unaware that public employees are still required to sign it. The pledge was added to the state Constitution in 1952 at the height of anti-Communist hysteria and has remained a prerequisite for public employment ever since. All state, city, county, public school, community college and public university employees are required to sign the 86-word oath. Noncitizens are exempt.Typically, new employees sign it as a matter of routine along with a stack of other required employment documents. Some public employees say they don't recall signing it."A lot of people are saying it's not a big deal, but I just couldn't do it," Kearney-Brown said. "Is the country safer because people sign it without thinking about it?"